Round table discussion on role of youths in South Sudan
A number of youth leaders and civil society over the weekend gathered at Juba Grand Hotel for a one day round table discussions to speak on the role of youth in the future of South Sudan and possibilities for an inclusive approach to peace-building that engages youth.
The event was organized by Chatham House and the British Council.
Several politicians also took part in the event to discuss how politicians see the role of youth in peace-building, reconciliation and community cohesion. Among them were Minister of Education John Gai, Manasseh Zindo, chairperson for the committee for culture, youth and sports of SPLM-IO, John Luk Jok of the SPLM-FD and Lam Akol of the Democratic Change party.
Lam noted that many of the youth in South Sudan are uneducated and stay in the countryside leaving them vulnerable to manipulations including being recruited to fight wars and raid cattle.
“All what we need as programs for youth, they need an environment of peace, there is no doubt about that, and therefore the peace agreement that we have reached should be embraced and should be put forward because without it we cannot get anything done,” said Lam.
He said, “Any person who wants to benefit from the enormous energy of youth must offer them something that will make them feel that they are living a life of significance.”
He said the youths should not only be given material support but also convictions, spiritual and moral sides of life to make them happy, not just giving them jobs for salaries.
Other participants included Agum Rin Mabeny, undersecretary in the ministry of youth, culture and sports, Palek Mathew Obur of SSWEN, Nicholas Aru of SSYPADO, Choul Dow, youth leader HOLLA South Sudan, Edmund Yakani of CEPO, Alfred Lokuji of Juba University, Ferdinand von Habsburg, adviser to the South Sudan Council of Churches, Casie Copeland of the International Crisis Group and Peter Biar Ajak, Director of the Center for Strategic Analysis and Research.